By Jill Pease
University of Florida researchers studying the use of a noninvasive brain stimulation treatment paired with cognitive training have found the therapy holds promise as an effective, drug-free approach for someday warding off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Yet determining optimal dosing for the treatment known as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, which is delivered by a safe and weak electrical current passed through electrodes placed on a person’s head, has been a challenge because of individual differences in anatomy.
Now, with the support of a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, scientists in the UF colleges of Public Health and Health Professions and Engineering will use artificial intelligence technology, including advanced machine learning and deep-learning algorithms, to evaluate a large data set gleaned from a study of tDCS and cognitive training in older adults. The goal is to gain more insight into the mechanisms driving treatment response and individual variability so that researchers can design a customized method for providing tDCS with the best possible outcome.